Heritage, Volume 8, Number 3, Summer 1990 Page: 8
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Rockingham, Northamptonshire. Sketch by Sidney R. Jones, 1911. The kind of village
Morris admired and preferred to the industrial landscape then being created.
join his college friend Burne-Jones in London and try his hand at
While in London, Morris became closely acquainted with the
remaining pre-Raphaelites, such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and
met John Ruskin who had been instrumental in fashioning his
views.3 Morris lived a Bohemian existence. His efforts at painting
were unsuccessful, but he began to publish his poems and discovered
his true vocation as a decorator. In 1859 Morris married
a groom's daughter from Oxford, the forlorn Jane Burden, who
became the subject of numerous pre-Raphaelite portraits. One
year later he built the famous Red House, which was designed by
his former colleague, Webb. With a considerable private inheritance,
he founded the famous decorating firm of Morris, Marshall,
Faulkner and Company in 1860. The firm prospered by providing
designs for chintzes, wall coverings, leather work, stained glass,
metalwork and so on, both to private clients and, significantly, for
both new and old churches. His business interests, ironically,
entangled Morris in restoration practices he later considered illadvised
and which he came to oppose so vociferously.
Morris' eventual involvement in the Society for the Protection
of Ancient Buildings and his eventual opposition to practices he at
one time actively endorsed are best explained by exploring the
nature of nineteenth-century "restoration" practice. Nikolaus
Pevsner, the noted art historian of the modern era, observed that
8 HERITAGE * SUMMER 1990
the idea of restoration, that is, the effort of returning a building to
an earlier or idealized earlier appearance, was common from an
early period.4 Christopher Wren, while Surveyor for Westminster
Abbey, made repairs and changes in a conscientious Gothic style
in deference to tradition. Therefore, Wren's late seventeenthcentury
work might broadly be considered "restorationist" in
character. Ecclesiastical restoration, which had become a common
practice by the early nineteenth century, was widespread by the
time Morris became involved at mid-century.5 One reason for this
increased activity was the growing body of scholarly knowledge
about the architecture of the Middle Ages. Thomas Rickman's
Attempt to Discriminate the Styles of English Architecture of 1817 set
hundreds of amateur church historians out searching the
countryside for churches in need of repair and established procedures
for their restoration. The Oxford Movement or HighChurch
movement itself also contributed to the interest in ecclesiastical
restorations. While leading High-Church spokesmen such
as Edward Pusey or John Newman apparently cared little about the
physical trappings of church services, most High-Church advocates
saw an improved, or in fact "restored,"architectural context
as essential to revived liturgical forms.6
Organizations such as the Cambridge Camden Society, later
the Ecclesiological Society of London, promoted the construction
and restoration of appropriate pre-Reformation character.7 As a
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 8, Number 3, Summer 1990, periodical, Summer 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45427/m1/8/: accessed April 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.